Friday, October 21, 2005

Blow Football Was Robbed

TV Cream's Top 100 Toys [via boingboing]
This is a great collection of toys I remember fondly. Most of them we didn't have ourselves, but I either yearned for them, coveted them, or have, indeed, never heard of them. This is a British site, so being raised by diffident and bespectacled British parents gives me more chance of having seen these, but most are universal.

I spent a good hour and a half reading through the very amusing summaries. Some highlights are the Shaker Maker, Magic Rocks, Big Trak, and the toy I coveted the most richly and longingly as a boy: Subbuteo.

This list reminded me of another soccer game: Blow Football, which sounds like Diego Maradona's autobiography but is not.

Blow Football was a game my grandparents sent from London one year. I use the term "game" loosely here, since it consisted functionally of two straws, two plastic goals, and a ping pong ball cunningly disguised as a soccer ball. I think there may have been some cardboard goalies, too, but I can't be sure. The idea was that you would set up the goals, and two intrepid players possessed of stronger than average respiratory systems would, well, blow through the straws and attempt to blow the football into the goal of the opposing player. Production costs, I'm guessing, were pretty low on this baby. Hours of fun were no doubt to ensue. All I remember ensuing was a lot of saliva ejected onto the coffee table.

I have a cherished memory of this game, though, for reasons that are frankly lost in the weft of time. I remember setting up Blow Football and playing with my father on that Christmas Day, and him turning a peculiar shade of crimson as a pack of Pall Mall Reds every day caught up with him, and we reached somewhat of a stalemate, with the ball hovering mid-table, neither side able to gain an advantage. It ended with us both collapsing in tears of laughter, and I don't remember ever playing the game after that.

Some googling leads to:

Blow Football Balls
Make your own Blow Football (using a cereal box)
Antique 1910 Blow Football

Improved Version of Blow Football (certainly much more impressive than the one I had)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Not Nearly Enough

I saw a really tragic commercial the other day on the electric television.

It was along these lines.

Frighteningly smooth man's voice: "How much would it take to get you to listen to a radio station? Two hundred fifty dollars? What about twenty-five hundred dollars"

Sultry, yet sort of perky woman's voice: "That sounds good."

FSMV: "What about twenty-five THOUSAND dollars? Tune in to KOIT at seven-thirty each morning to find out how you can win twenty-five thousand dollars."

SYSOPWV: "For twenty-five thousand dollars I'd listen all day! What kind of music is it?"

FSMV: "Lite rock! At KOIT."

Now, if you're not in the Bay Area, you may never have been exposed to KOIT, but I am guessing the devil and his minions have established base camp in most urban centers, where they broadcast the audio equivalent of velour. And I thought, would it be worth it?

How long would I make it, enduring instrumental arrangements of Rocket Man and John Tesh live performances? Would the irreparable psychological damage of prolonged Celine Dion exposure be forgotten in the face of 18,000 after-tax dollars?

And how sad is it for KOIT to bribe people to listen to their preprogrammed journey through the unchallenging side of adult oriented rock, the would-be winners' eyes glazing over, their skin growing sallow and baggy as Music Box Dancer washes over them in a cool breeze of torment?

Curse you KOIT. Curse you. It's not enough.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Two Dorks that Pass in the Mid-Morning

I was on my way in to work this morning, stuck in rather heavy traffic, when a guy in a Range Rover pulled up alongside me and shouted something. I didn't hear him, because I was being extra-dorky by listening to Sisters of Mercy* at high volume.

I turned down the tunes and looked at him. "I went to Miskatonic University too!" he cried.

Aha! A fellow dork had spotted the dork-signal "Cthulhu Saves" sticker on the back of my Golf! This has only happened once before in the seven years or so that I've had that sticker. And that time, it was an alarmingly hairy and lonely-looking guy at an Orange County Chevron station who attempted to involve me in a conversation that seemed destined to involve twenty-sided dice, fishpeople, and a scene-by-scene deconstruction of Re-Animator.

Impressed, I flashed him a thumbs-up and a smile, and we drove off, each a little dorkier for the experience.

I'd like to add, parenthetically, that these chance drive-by encounters can leave one a little discomfited if one pulls up at the next stoplight immediately next to the person who has just conversed with you. Is the burden now upon you to continue the car-to-car communication, referencing something on the other person's car? Like a Jack-in-the-Box antennahead? "I see you've got a Jack-in-the-Box Antennahead!" you could yell, for instance. Or do you just smile? Do you have to wave? Would rolling up the window seem rude?

These things worry me.

*"This Corrosion", if you must know. There, now you've got an earworm**. Sisters of Mercy are perhaps the dorkiest Goth music available, with their twelve minute remixes for no good reason, and what was with those cop sunglasses? The singer was like the Goth Ponch, for God's sake. Sisters of Mercy are, in this humble non-reviewer's opinion, roughly analagous to KMFDM in dorkiness.
**Typing this word too quickly may result in the tragic if somewhat amusing typo "rearworm"***.
***Rejected title for the porno version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Things that Are Really Not Very Good At All When Warm

#87: Ranch Dressing


Blog Archive